20/06/2014

Under 50% Of NI Minorities Feel 'Belonging'

Less than half of people from minority groups feel a sense of belonging in Northern Ireland, according to a new study by Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster.

'Belonging and Alienation in the New Northern Ireland' has been published during Community Relations Week and is based on the survey results of the 2013 Life and Times (NILT) and Young Life and Times (YLT) surveys.

Adults from Catholic backgrounds (64%) were more likely than those from Protestant backgrounds (54%) to say they felt a sense of belonging to their neighbourhood.

53% of Protestants but only 43% of Catholics said they felt a sense of belonging to Northern Ireland.

81% of Catholics and 82% of Protestants said they probably or definitely felt some sense of belonging to Northern Ireland.

But only 41% of those in minority ethnic groups said probably or definitely felt a sense of belonging to their neighbourhood and 39% said they probably or definitely felt a sense of belonging to Northern Ireland respectively.

16-year-old respondents were least likely of all age groups surveyed to express a sense of belonging to Northern Ireland at 24%, whereas 55-64-year-olds had the greatest definite sense of belonging to Northern Ireland at 52%.

8% of all NILT respondents felt a definite sense of influence on decision making at local level. This figure was even lower, 5%, at Northern Ireland level.

42% of respondents with no religious background said they had definitely no influence on any decision. For Catholic and Protestants, the results were 35% and 32% respectively.

2% of 16-year olds felt they definitely had an influence on decision making in Northern Ireland, while 50% felt they definitely had no influence.

Dr Katy Hayward, from the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s University, and Lead Author of the Research Update, said: "What we see, overall, is a society with generally high levels of belonging, especially at local level, but low levels of perceived influence in decision-making at any level.

"However, we also see a society in which those who are often identified as holding the key to a more peaceful future – younger people and those who are free from any one religious denomination – are the people who have the strongest feelings of alienation and pessimism."

(IT/CD)

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